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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

THIS Memoir was originally intended to form one of the uniform series of
local histories compiled by order of the Government. Its main object was
therefore to serve as a bopk,o£ reference for the use of district officers ; thus
it touches npon many topics which the general reader will condemn as trivial and
uninteresting, and in the earlier chapters the explanations are more detailed and
minute than the professed student of MstcTyandarchs will probably deem
at all necessary. But a local memoir can never be a severely artistic perform-
ance. On a small scale it resembles a dictionary or encyclopoedia and must? if
complete3 be composed of very heterogeneous materials, out of which those who
have occasion to consult it must select what they require for their own purposes,
without concluding that whatever is superfluous for them is equally familiar or
distasteful to other people.
As good libraries of standard works of reference are scarcely to be
found anywhere in India out of the presidency towns, I have invariably given in
foil the verv words of my authorities, both ancient and modern. And if I havo
occasion to mention any historical character—though he may have achieved some-
what more than a mere local reputation—I still narrate succinctly all the mate-
rial facts of his life rather than take them for granted as already known. Thus,
before quoting the Chinese Klgrlms71 explain under what circumstances they
wrote : and when describing the Mathnra Observatory, I introduce an account
of the famous royal astronomer by whom it was constructed. Hence my pages
are not unfrequently overcrowded with names and dates which must give them
rather a repellent appearance ; but I shall be compensated for this reproach if
residents OB the spot find in them an answer to all enquiries, without occasion
to consult other authorities,, which, though. possibly far from obscure, may still
milder the circumstances be difficult to obtain.
I dwell at considerable length on the legends connected with the deified
Krishna, the tutelary divinity of the district: because, however puerile and com-
paratively modern many of them maybe, they have materially affected the whole
course of local history and are still household words, to which allusion is con-
stantly made in conversation, either to animate a description or enforce an
The great years of famine and the mutiny of 1857, though ft© latter
was m calamity much more lightly felt in ibis neighbourhood than in man j oiier